NewsCovering America

Actions

Off-duty officer reunites with victim of Christmas parade crash

Family has created GoFundMe to cover medical expenses
paradereunion.jpeg
Posted at 7:52 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 11:08:38-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. (TMJ4) — It was a reunion that Officer Gary Wallace from the Franklin Police Department was not expecting.

Officer Wallace was attending the Waukesha Christmas parade with his family as his daughter marched with the Girl Scouts through Main Street.

Officer Gary Wallace from the Franklin Police Department
Officer Gary Wallace from the Franklin Police Department at the Waukesha Christmas parade.

The moment he noticed chaos unleashing as the speeding SUV came charging through the streets, he went into first responder mode and began helping anyone he saw that was down.

He noticed a woman lying on the ground with a young boy holding her. He immediately went to help and got her into a random cop car.

On Friday, a story with Marisol Lopez and her son Adair Rebollar-Lopez aired on TMJ4. A member from Officer Wallace's team was convinced that Lopez was the woman Wallace helped.

That led to Wallace being reunited with Lopez.

"I'm never gonna forget what I saw, but when I got the link to the article to the interview with Marisol, it took a lot of ache out of my heart, because I knew at least one person that I tried to help was gonna make it," said Officer Wallace.

He says he helped many that night, but to this day he has no idea whether or not they are okay.

The hardest part for Officer Wallace was seeing her son, Adair, holding her crying.

Reunite
For the first time since the tragic night, Officer Wallace was able to reunite with Lopez and Adair.

"That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do was to pull her son off of her so we could get her out of there. That was just heart-wrenching. To see them back together again...it did a lot to help me move on," he said.

Lopez's family was brought to tears thanking Officer Wallace for his help that evening.

Lopez asked Officer Wallace who could have committed this senseless act of violence while they were on the way to the hospital.

"You asked why and then you told me three times that you would pray for him and that you wanted him to know that you prayed for him. You inspire me. I've got a lot of work to do to be the kind of person that I need to be for my kids and I'm just gonna try to catch up to you," said Officer Wallace.

Lopez believes moving forward begins with forgiveness and grace despite her injuries.

Reunite
Lopez believes moving forward begins with forgiveness and grace despite her injuries.

"My body is hurt or painful, but my spirit is strong and that's the most important," said Lopez.

Both Lopez and Officer Wallace plan to look for each other if there is a Christmas parade next year, believing that they will overcome the trauma together.

This story was originally reported by Jessica Madhukar on tmj4.com.